Billionaire Poonawalla family invests £50m in Oxford vaccine centre

Pledge on collaborations between vaccine producers and researchers

Adar Poonawalla, chief executive of the Serum Institute of India. Reuters

India’s billionaire Poonawalla family has pledged £50 million ($66.5m) to the University of Oxford to set up a research campus to house the institute responsible for the AstraZeneca-Oxford coronavirus vaccine.

The building will be named after the family that owns and runs the world’s largest vaccine producer, Serum Institute of India (SII). The pledge builds on the collaboration between Oxford, AstraZeneca and SII that produced a version of the vaccine shot for low and middle-income countries.

SII was founded in 1966 in the western Indian city of Pune by Cyrus Poonawalla, India's fifth-richest person, according to Forbes.

The company is run by his son Adar Poonawalla, whose wife Natasha Poonawalla heads Serum Life Sciences.

In September, the Poonawallas invested £50m in Oxford Biomedica to help to fund the development of a plant that manufactures vaccine shots.

Updated: December 16th 2021, 6:16 PM